State Prehistoric Artifact

California is the only state to have a State Prehistoric Artifact. This unique relic is thought by many to be the earliest known representation of the California grizzly bear. This small, 2 ½ inch artifact was chipped from volcanic rock over 7,000-years ago and was dug up in San Diego County in 1985. Its carver imbued the work, which seems to resemble a walking bear, with deep spiritual meaning.

This chipped stone artifact seems to capture the power and majesty of the most powerful mammal known in California. Because of its great age it was honored as an official state symbol in 1991. California’s Native peoples lived among the grizzlies for thousands of years, but they seem to have left few identifiable representations, making this small carving unusual.

(Senate Bill 404, Chapter 73, 1991)